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WEEKLY BLOG: "Good Aussie Tunes"

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In New Zealand we haven't always had the most favorable view of Australian music. It might be some kind of hangover from the 1980s. All we knew then was Icehouse and INXS, which was then followed by Silverchair and Thirsty Merc. It all just seemed like bland, derivative pub rock.

Sitting here in Brisbane at the Big Sound music showcase, I think it is time that view gets a review.

Last year, after attending Big Sound, I made up a playlist called "Good Aussie Tunes". To begin with I added some bands I'd seen that I liked - like Super Wild Horses, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and Straight Arrows. All three put on a great show. I then added other things I heard that I liked, like Twerps, Beaches and Dick Diver. Despite the high proportion of terrible band names, they were all really good. In fact, some are really good. There is definitely a preference for music that rocks the pub, but it isn't 'pub rock'. 

Also in 2012 I was here with the Transistors (photo above of them playing at Ric's bar) and they got one of the best reactions from all the bands at the whole event.

This year, as Big Sound is about to start, I'm researching who I'm going to go and see. There are 120 bands and to be honest most of them I've never heard of - but discovering cool new stuff is the order of the day. 

Tonight I think I will check out Dune Rats, Mining Boom, Glass Towers and later Robert Foster formerly of the Go Betweens. I am sure I will get diverted along the way to see some other things too. The former acts I know pretty much nothing about, but they sound interesting. 

Last year Robert Foster was actually one of the keynote speakers - it was very interesting and he revealed a lot about his band and it's history. This year the keynote is Billy Bragg. He is on this morning so I'd better get along to that. I wonder what he will say about the new Aussie PM. 

For anyone interested in hearing some of the Q & A I did with Simon Raymonde (from Cocteau Twins/Bella Union) last week (which I wrote about here) then you can hear it here - as recorded by Radio NZ.

by Ben Howe 



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  • paul mcneil on

    Yeah, Aussies singing in aussie accents.. its unreal.. It all starts with Eddie Current. period… But lets not forget Royal Headache.. (brilliant) Bored Nothing, Boomgates and my new favourite this week Shining Bird.

  • Gavin on

    You may know them already (I’m in the UK, so no idea how well known they are over in your part of the world), but the band Songs on that list are really good. Just picked up both their albums.

  • Chris Familton on

    You really need to check out Bad//Dreems, fantastic band out of Adelaide. They just released a new EP called Badlands. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5tszSkc3Zw

  • Anthony on

    You’ve also got Boomgates, the Living Eyes, Bits of Shit, Woollen Kits, Total Control, Cuntz, Ooga Boogas and Sewers who are Aussie bands that are totally killer. And of course Eddy Current Suppression Ring. If the band or their record involves/was produced or mastered by Mikey Young, buy it.

  • Glen on

    Lot of ground to catch up on man. I know where you’re coming from, I’m a NZer, living in Aus for many years. There’s a radio show on Triple R in Melbourne Monday nights 8pm AEST called Local And/Or General, Aussie bands & also Kiwi stuff, good round-up. My current faves No Zu, Pikelet, Beaches, Lowtide, Seekae …


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